Monthly Archives: September 2017

New QSF Flash Fiction Anthology: Renewal

QSF Renewal-Print

QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


Renewal Banner

Excerpt

Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich

“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne

“Intwir’s twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones

“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel

“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton

“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase

“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer


Included Authors

‘Nathan Burgoine
A.M. Leibowitz
A.M. Soto
Abby Bartle
Aidee Ladnier
Alexis Woods
Andi Deacon
Andrea Felber Seligman
Andrea Speed
Andrea Stanet
Anne McPherson
Bey Deckard
Brigitte Winter
Carey Ford Compton
Carol Holland March
Carrie Pack
Catherine Lundoff
CB Lee
Christine Wright
Colton Aalto
Daniel Mitton
Dustin Blottenberger
Dustin Karpovich
E R Zhang
E.J. Russell
E.W. Murks
Ell Schulman
Ellery Jude
Eloreen Moon
Elsa M León
Emily Horner
Eric Alan Westfall
F.T. Lukens
Fenrir Cerebellion
Foster Bridget Cassidy
Ginger Streusel
Hannah Henry
Irene Preston
J. Alan Veerkamp
J. P. Egry
J. Summerset
J.S. Fields
Jaap Boekestein
Jackie Keswick
Jana Denardo
Jeff Baker
Jenn Burke
Joe Baumann
John Moralee
Jon Keys
Jude Dunn
K.C. Faelan
Kelly Haworth
Kiterie Aine
Kristen Lee
L M Somerton
L. Brian Carroll
L.M. Brown
L.V. Lloyd
Laurie Treacy
Leigh M. Lorien
Lex Chase
Lia Harding
Lin Kelly
Lloyd A. Meeker
Lyda Morehouse
M.D. Grimm
Martha J. Allard
Mary E. Lowd
Matt Doyle
Matthew Bright
Mia Koutras
Michelle Browne
Milo Owen
Mindy Leana Shuman
Naomi Tajedler
Natsuya Uesugi
Nephy Hart
Nicole Dennis
Ofelia Gränd
Patricia Scott
Paul Stevens
PW Covington
R R Angell
R.L. Merrill
Rebecca Cohen
Redfern Jon Barrett
Reni Kieffer
Richard Amos
RL Mosswood
Robyn Walker
Rory Ni Coileain
Rose Blackthorn
Ross Common
S R Jones
Sacchi Green
Sarah Einstein
Shilo Quetchenbach
Siri Paulson
Soren Summers
Stephanie Shaffer
Steve Fuson
Tam Ames
Terry Poole
Tray Ellis
Vivien Dean
Wendy Rathbone
Xenia Melzer
Zen DiPietro
Zev de Valera

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Filed under Excerpt, Fantasy, LGBT, New Release, SciFi

Polyamory Is About Love

I’ve read a number of MMM books over the years, and many were excellent—Us Three by Mia Kerick (this one is YA), The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles, Polar Reaction by Claire Thompson, and Dark Horse by Kate Sherwood are all great—but I was surprised to discover how strong the connection appeared to be between MMM and BDSM. Don’t get me wrong. BDSM is fine. It’s just not something I’m into, and I wouldn’t classify the poly relationships I know of in real life as having much to do with BDSM—certainly not all of them. (None of this is meant to imply anything about the content of the novels I listed—some have BDSM, some don’t.)

As I was developing the blurb for my novel, The Rules, it was mentioned more than once that I should emphasize that the book was hot, hot, HOT! and kinky… except that it isn’t, by my definition. Oh, sure, there’s plenty of sex and those scenes are hot. But the novel isn’t specifically meant to be kinky or about a hot menage or threesome (both of which terms imply a temporary, sexual circumstance to me, rather than a permanent relationship).

It’s about three men with emotional holes in their lives coming together to form a loving, polyamorous family. (The search engine on Goodreads tells me “polyamory” is mostly used for nonfiction. Seriously?)

Hans feels alienated from his family. After his parents divorced, his father drifted away, and his mother and sister grew close, more or less excluding him. Thomas was thrown out of his family and cut off from his inheritance for being gay, and Boris… Boris is a mess. He survived bullying and worse at the hands of his country, Russia, and has a dark secret he’s afraid to reveal to anyone. But they come together to heal and love one another. The sex (and there is a lot of sex for a Jamie Fessenden novel) begins as kind of a kinky situation, but quickly becomes more than that.

My point is simply that a polyamorous relationship should be viewed as an alternate type of relationship. Polyamorous families are families. They involve more than two people, but they are still families. They aren’t about sex (exclusively)—they’re about love.

Family is how you define it.

BLURB

WHEN HANS BAUER, a college student in New Hampshire, accepts a job as a housekeeper for an older gay couple, he soon learns the reason they’ve hired someone with no experience is that professional agencies won’t work there. Thomas is a successful businessman whose biggest goal in life appears to be giving his husband anything he wants. Boris is a writer who immigrated to this country from Russia, and suffers from depression and PTSD because of the things he endured in his native country.

He also refuses to wear clothes—ever.

While Hans is working alone in the house with Naked Boris all day, things start getting a little weird. Boris gets flirtatious and Hans backs away, not wanting to come between him and his husband. So Boris calls Thomas at work and asks permission.

At that moment, The Rules are born—rules about touching and kissing and pet names that the three men use to keep jealousies at bay, as they explore the possibilities in a new type of relationship….

WARNING: This story deals with themes of sexual assault and past abuse.

BUY LINK

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rules-Jamie-Fessenden-ebook/dp/B075FPT1VF/

EXCERPT

[Hans comes to the house to ask Boris to pose nude for his art project.]

The house was wonderfully cool. They must have been running the air-conditioner, though Hans couldn’t hear anything. The place was absolutely silent, as if nobody was home. Hans closed the door and called Boris’s name, but there was no response. From the front hall, he could see the sofa, and it was bare. Hans did a quick check of the downstairs rooms. The study door was open, and the room was empty. It also smelled kind of like a men’s locker room. Hans wondered if Boris would let him in again to clean on Tuesday.

At the end of the hall, Hans looked out the French doors and spotted his quarry. Boris was lying on the lawn, sunbathing face down on a large blue-and-white beach towel. Hans opened one of the doors and stepped outside.

Boris heard him and raised his head. “Hans! I did not expect you today.”

“No.” Hans crossed the patio to where he was stretched out. “I’m not normally… Boris Ivanich, do you have sunblock on?” The Russian’s back was getting a little red.

“It did not occur to me.”

Hans set his backpack on the grass. “Do you have some in the house?”

“Thomas might. I do not know.”

Hans frowned at him. “Hold on.” He went back inside. I swear, it’s like looking after a kid. He wasn’t sure where to search for sunblock, but the bathroom seemed a good possibility. He checked the downstairs half-bath first. There was nothing in the medicine cabinet, but he found an old plastic tube of sunscreen under the sink. It was nearly empty, but there was a little left.

He went back outside and knelt in the grass beside Boris. “You really should put some on. You’re getting burned.”

Boris took the tube and opened it. He scrunched up his nose. “It smells like coconut.”

“I got this out of your bathroom. You must have used it at some point.”

Boris waved dismissively. “Not me. Maybe Thomas.”

“Well, it’s the only one I could find, so stop being difficult.”

Boris grinned, and Hans’s heart did a little flutter. That wasn’t good.

“Okay,” Boris said, handing the tube back to him. He put his head down and wiggled his butt like an excited puppy. “You may put some on me.”

“Oh, may I, your majesty?” Hans was using sarcasm to disguise his sudden discomfort. It really didn’t seem like a good idea for him to rub lotion on Boris’s… anything.

Boris snickered. “Please put some on me?”

“I’m not sure I should do that, Boris Ivanich.”

“Why not?”

“Well, because you’re naked.”

“I am always naked.”

“Yes,” Hans explained patiently, “but I’m not always touching you.”

Boris lifted his head again and cocked an eyebrow at him. Then he grunted and nodded. “You are worried about Thomas.”

“I don’t want to do anything that would upset him,” Hans said. Then he quickly added, “Or that we’d have to hide from him.”

Boris held out his hand. “Do you have your phone?”

Hans hesitated, but Boris made an impatient gesture with his fingers, so he dug his cell out of his pocket and handed it over. He watched nervously while Boris dialed. Boris put it on speaker while it rang, placing it on the towel between them.

“Hans?” Thomas asked. “You still can’t find him?”

“I am here,” Boris said.

“Oh. Why do you have Hans’s phone?”

“He gave it to me in exchange for a blow job.”

Hans gasped. “I did not!”

Thomas laughed. “What’s going on?”

“Hans tells me I will get sunburned,” Boris said, “so I should put on this nasty-smelling coconut shit. But I cannot reach my back—I am not a comic book character—and he will not put it on me.”

“You’re sunbathing? Since when do you sunbathe?”

Boris made a rude noise. “That is beside the point. I need you to tell Hans you won’t divorce me and come after him with a butcher knife if he rubs coconut shit on my back.”

“You two will be the death of me,” Thomas muttered, but there was a note of affection in his voice. Hans assumed that was for Boris, but the way Thomas had said “you two” sounded as if they were all somehow together. Hans was surprised by how much he liked that. “Hans, I won’t divorce Boris and come after you with a butcher knife if you rub coconut shit on his back.”

“Thank you,” Boris told him.

“But Boris? You behave.”

“Me?” Boris sounded scandalized.

“Don’t think I can’t see what’s happening.”

“What is happening?”

“You’re attracted to Hans,” Thomas said calmly.

Hans was suddenly dizzy. This is not normal. People don’t have conversations like this! He wanted to run away, but he was riveted.

Boris looked at Hans for a moment, as if he were evaluating the truth of Thomas’s statement. At last he said, “That is true.”

“And I think Hans is attracted to you.”

Hans tried to answer but couldn’t speak. Boris smirked and said, “He might answer that, after he stops pissing himself.”

“Shut up,” Hans said, finally finding his voice. Boris grinned.

“I’m not going to flip out over it,” Thomas went on, “but I think we should all sit down and talk about this, especially if Hans decides to move in for the summer. For today, I need you both to understand what my boundaries are. I’m fine with you rubbing lotion on each other’s backs, chests, arms, and legs. I guess butts are reasonable. But don’t be rubbing lotion on each other’s dicks—your crotch is not a hard-to-reach spot.” Then he dropped the bombshell. “If you get so turned on you absolutely can’t stand it, jerk off in front of each other, but don’t jerk each other off. Are we clear?”

“Yes, yes,” Boris said, clearly enjoying this. “We’ll fondle each other’s asses and jerk off, but no touching of dicks.” He glanced at Hans, who was sure his face had turned bone white. “Or maybe Hans will run screaming in terror and never come to our house again. I will keep you informed.”

“Buck up, Hans. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Be nice to him, Boris.”

“I will be very nice to him.”

Thomas groaned, but he said goodbye and hung up.

Hans wasn’t sure what to make of the exchange, and he was pretty wigged out. “What just happened?”

“You were worried about how Thomas would feel,” Boris said matter-of-factly, “so I asked him.”

“Did he just tell us to jerk off together?”

“No,” Boris replied. “He explained what would bother him and what would not. Jerking off together would not bother him. That does not mean we have to do it.”

“All I wanted was for you to put on some suntan lotion!”

 

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Filed under College, Contemporary, Drama, Excerpt, gay, Gay Marriage, Jamie Fessenden, New Release, Nudity, Rape, Romance, Russian

Excerpt from Roe Horvat’s new novel “Dirty Mind”

Alexander Popescu is a university lecturer in a quiet German town. He’s a respectable man in his thirties who stays fit, has a decent career, travels alone—his only vice is an occasional greasy meal. And beer. And violent computer games. Nobody has to know about the other Alex—the acclaimed porn writer. His ingenious erotic fantasies earn him good money and keep his capricious mind harmlessly entertained.

When his young friend and protégé Christian transfers to Freiburg for medical school, Alex is overjoyed…and terrified that Christian will find out about Alex’s indecent alter ego. The time they spend together, as lovely as it is, could overturn Alex’s carefully balanced life. Suddenly, the writing is not good enough, his hair seems to be thinning, his careful hookups leave him unfulfilled, and his dreams are haunted by the innocent young man he’s vowed to protect.

However, Christian is not a boy anymore. He’s a grown man of twenty-one, clever and deadly attractive. And he’s hiding some secrets of his own.

Excerpt

I was just waving down the bartender when a tension-charged silence fell on us. It was like in a spaghetti western when the hero walks into the saloon, and everyone turns their heads. Christian entered the bar, and every guy within a ten-meter radius looked his way. I could swear there were gasps.

He wasn’t too tall, maybe one seventy-five, and he had the shiniest blond hair. The sun-bleached mop of golden strands surrounded his head like a halo as if he’d descended directly from heaven to save our lost, dirty souls. But angels probably wouldn’t come down to earth dressed in faded cut-off jeans and purple flip-flops.

Christian had some insignificant friend or two with him, but I didn’t notice their gender let alone their faces. His bright-blue eyes were all I could see, almost turquoise in the colorful night lights. His nose and cheeks were covered with summer freckles, and he glowed. He was so young.

I admit I was one of those who gasped. Just before I got genuinely scared for him.

He looked a little dazed, like a newborn foal looking around the barn for the first time, big eyes, gangly limbs and all. The innocence and naiveté drifted with him like a glittering mist.

The couple who had come with him hit the dance floor as soon as they got their hands on two beer bottles. Alone, Christian sat on a barstool a mere few meters away from me, facing the crowd, faint wonder on his angelic face.

He wasn’t going to last. I could see the mob forming already.

It took thirty seconds for the first man to hit on him. I watched Christian’s face as his eyes widened, and his mouth formed a perfect O. Whatever the guy said to him, it was not the right thing. The boy turned bright red and leaned back, trying to get as far away from the man as the bar counter allowed. He mumbled something; the other man shrugged and took off, leaving Christian stunned.

It was like some sick, speed-dating reality show, the guys coming and going, the bewildered boy rejecting them all. He laughed from astonishment several times. Until it wasn’t funny anymore.

The last candidate was probably my age, fake tan, extravagantly dyed hair, beefy arms, colorful designer clothes. Sleazy, with a fucking gold chain and a geometrical black goatee that was so perfect it looked glued on. And he didn’t leave, he leaned closer and closer, ignoring the boy’s protests. Then one big paw landed on Christian’s thigh, a thick thumb massaging along the inner seam of the boy’s jeans, and for the first time, I saw genuine fear in those bright-blue eyes. It was sobering to watch.

In hindsight, it wasn’t the smartest thing I’d ever done, but I acted quickly. I slid off my stool and closed the distance between us in five strides. I cast my arm around the boy’s shoulders careful not to add weight, trying to signal him subtly that it was all for show. He flinched anyway.

Quickly, I offered the most cliché phrase there was.

“Sorry I’m late,” I said. I hoped the douchebag hadn’t noticed me on the other side of the bar, sitting there for an hour straight. “Been having trouble without me, Squirrel?” I looked the fake-tanned sleazeball in the eyes as I said that. Was he wearing tinted contacts? Close up, the guy looked like an oiled, airbrushed spawn of Steven Seagal and a Ken doll. Bleh.

There was a second when Christian seemed to weigh his options, in the end deciding that I was going to be the lesser of two evils.

“A bit,” he quipped next to me, playing along at last. “You were supposed to be here an hour ago.” He was clever. His voice shook, though. He had a heavy German accent.

“My apologies, gentlemen. I am intruding, obviously. Have a nice evening.” The sleazy guy, Scottish apparently, nodded my way and left. Not drunk, then, but that only made it worse. I despised those pushy, slimy daddy-types who wouldn’t accept a simple “no” without puffing their chest.

I turned towards Christian and dropped my arm, taking a step back, giving him much-needed space. “Are you OK?” I switched to German, and his head snapped at that.

“Yeah,” he said uncertainly.

“I’m not going to hit on you, I swear.”

He chuckled nervously. “That is a relief.”

“Where are your friends?” I looked around, but the couple was nowhere in sight.

“Hooking up on the beach, I imagine,” he answered, frowning.

“You need better friends. You shouldn’t be here alone. Not the smartest thing for your first time in a gay bar, abroad, and without backup.” Seriously, someone should have been looking out for this kid.

He scowled. It only made him more adorable. “How do you know it’s my first time?”

I pointed my finger at his sunny hair. “It says so right here, in big neon capital letters. Do you have someone to call to pick you up?”

His shoulders slumped, and he shook his head. “God, no! My mom would freak. We said we were going to a pizza place two blocks away from the hotel. She can’t know I’m here.”

“Which hotel?” I asked and immediately regretted it. His eyes narrowed. “Forget it, don’t tell me. How about I put you in a cab?”

“I should wait for Mischa and Gustav. I’m sure they’ll be back in half an hour tops.”

“Want me to keep you company until they arrive, to chase away the hyenas and such?”

He smiled nervously and shrugged.

“Like I said, I’m not going to hit on you. I like my men legal, thank you very much.”

He scowled again, making my smile broader. “I’m eighteen.”

“Do you want me to hit on you, Squirrel?”

“No!” he squealed, and I had to laugh out loud.

“There you go. You look sixteen, by the way. I’m buying you a drink but no alcohol. And watch it! I could easily slip some shit into your glass.”

“You are worse than my mother,” he grumbled, but his smile was warm.

“Thank you for the compliment. So, small talk, where are you from?”

“Berlin. We’re here for two weeks, with my mom and my uncle’s family.”

“Family holiday, huh?”

“Yeah. And you?”

“I was born in Berlin. The last few years, I’ve been living in Freiburg.”

“And your English? You have an American accent.”

“Observant,” I nodded, impressed with his quickness. My accent was faint, blotched with German, and I’d said what, two sentences in English earlier? “My mom is American and my dad Romanian. They met in West Berlin in the seventies and stayed.”

“So you speak Romanian, too?”

“Sadly, no. I don’t have any fascinating language skills. Only a weird name.”

“How weird?” he prompted.

“Alexander Popescu. Alex for you.”

“Christian König.” He offered me a hand, like the nice-mannered boy he was. He was lovable all around. And skinny.

“Are you hungry? I might order patatas bravas.”

Book Buy Links:

Amazon: http://a.co/eTpgqfi

Publisher: http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/dirtymind

Paperback: http://beatentrackpublishing.com/shop/proddetail.php?prod=dirtymind

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36086082-dirty-mind

Author bio

Roe was born in former Czechoslovakia and endured a miserable adolescence in the post-communist wasteland. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, they left for Germany and later, Spain.
Finally, they settled in Sweden, where the weather is nasty but the freedom great. Roe works as a motion graphics artist, loves Jane Austen, Douglas Adams and everything in between, preferably by the fireplace with a strawberry daiquiri in hand. Roe writes contemporary romantic fiction—it conveniently balances out their real-life pragmatism.
When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.

Get in touch with the Roe:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roe.horvat.98

Website: https://www.roehorvat.com

Twitter: @roehorvat

 

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Filed under Blog Tour, Contemporary, Drama, Excerpt, gay, New Release, Romance